By Kira’Fika Jackson
Media and technology could be a major cause for a rise in violence for elementary students.
Incidents with children in elementary schools threatening to harm their peers are becoming more frequent than we think in Tallahassee.
Within the past two months there have been two serious cases involving students bringing weapons on campus. There have been at least three incidents dealing with junior and high school students.
In February, a third grader at Hartsfield Elementary brought a gun to school and faced disciplinary action while two fifth graders at Roberts Elementary were suspended and recommended for expulsion for plotting to assault or possibly murder their 11-year-old peer due to a rumor that was being spread about them.
So why are students who are only 11 and under so advanced in knowing how to proceed with attempted murder?
Marquis Walter, a counselor and psychological therapist at the University of Central Florida, mentioned that having easier access to violent YouTube, social media and gaming videos could be the root of this issue.
“Nowadays, what do you see in a child’s hand at the age of 2? A cell phone or a tablet. It’s the norm for them now. Everything’s on the internet. You can look up how to get away with murder and they will provide you with the information.”
Walters continued, “Most elementary schools don’t stress mental illnesses or counseling for kids because they think they’re too young to understand life. They’re not too young. They understand everything and they feel everything.”
According to the Leon County Sheriff’s Office, the student from Hartsfield attained his gun from his father’s drawer before leaving for school that morning. This can demonstrate how parents may unintentionally be responsible for their children’s actions.
“Sometimes as parents we don’t realize that our children watch our every move. It’s extremely easy for kids to go the wrong direction, even if they’re right under our noses,” said Lavonya Green.
Certified Psychotherapist Beverly Jackson stated that a recent study, “Children’s Exposure to Violence” done by the Juvenile Justice Bulletin Department, showed that children who had an exposure to violence at an early age presented aggressive behavior when they got older or presented aggressive behavior towards their peers or toys.
“We can definitely expect more violence in this era. Psychology isn’t just about trauma an adult or a child experienced during their childhood. It’s also about their surroundings that impact their psychological behavior, rather [than just] it’s music or movies,” said Jackson.
“A child doesn’t have to go through trauma in order to commit a crime. “Love and Hip-hop,” “The Walking Dead,” “Family Guy,” all of these shows impact a child’s psychological mind state. Even the most innocent TV shows can give off the wrong message,” she said.
Experts say having more counseling opportunities available in school can prevent such serious issues. Also limiting TV access to such vulgar or explicit media content can prevent children from receiving negative messages and ideas, such as harming their peers.